Save the Jar?

I visited a friend at his office the other day. It’s one of those annoying Google inspired open space places with the obligatory pool table that no one will ever play. The friend I was visiting was drinking his water out of an old peanut butter jar. Don’t get me wrong, I like Chunky Teddy Bear Brand peanut butter and all, but I thought he looked like an idiot drinking from his new fandango glass jar with half the label still remaining on the outside surface. In case you were wondering, yes, it was salt-free peanut butter, which to me just sounds gross, but for someone like him was fitting. He actually seemed pretty impressed by his choice in stemware despite my opinion. He told me he had thrown away all the plastic in his kitchen and has decided to switch back to glass. Yes, I asked him if he threw away all his baggies and saran wrap too to which he didn’t respond. It turns out that this movement back to glass is a growing trend. Possibly it’s the fear of BPA, which is used in several plastics including polycarbonate and is also in the linings of almost all cans or possibly it’s just people trying to show off that they too enjoy a good all-natural salt-free peanut butter.

It seems strange that some households are steadily moving back to glass at the same time many major brands are moving from glass to plastic. Oddly, it seems like major brands of peanut butter were among the first to switch, come to think of it, maybe it was milk and orange juice. I can’t remember. After that, ketchup, mayonnaise, ice tea and pasta sauce switched from heavy fragile glass to durable light-weight plastic.  The change is still happening thanks to coatings and advances in polymers. I wonder when our hot sauces will change over or even our Worchestshire. I can’t help but also wonder what my friend will be drinking out of in the coming years as his selection of glass jars and bottles will surely dwindle, as major brands make the glass to plastic transition.

I found a story from a while ago in the Washington Post. It centers around an independent report stating that Plastic is more sustainable than glass in almost every way. I wonder how they factor in saving the jars for reuse. I have a basement full of baby food jars that are filled with screws, bolts, nuts and brads. That’s not really my point though, my point is that while plastic is better for the planet, isn’t it also just better in general? Glass seems to be a much cooler option to my hoarder-side but the features built around use pattern that are integrated into these new plastic packages are really useful and just seems sort of silly that we used to need to see how much Miracle Whip was left in the jar. My point is, these products take advantage of the switch from glass to plastic; not just in the change of material but they have used the change in material to create a better user experience including better grips, easier storage and cleaner dispensing.  The do this while also improving their presence at point-of-sale.

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